Testing for Elite Athletic Performance

Quality of Life

Most of us are after a level of fitness that will allow us to enjoy a high quality of life. Whether going on adventures or just playing in the backyard with the grandkids, we are simply trying to stave off the nursing home. For us a daily routine of functional fitness that keeps us mobile and builds our cardiovascular system is priority numero uno.

Elite Athletic Performance

For those of you looking to compete in the sport of CrossFit then we will need to dig deeper in order to be able to fully maximize our potential and win on race day. If you fall into this category then you will want to stay tuned because we will break down why your training could very well be ALL WRONG.

Every single one of us has a physiological limiter at some level of intensity. Every. Single. One. From Mat Fraser on down there will be some limiting factor that will rear its ugly head at a specific intensity in a specific modality or mix of. The point of testing is to find this limiter and train it until it no longer is. The problem with most CrossFit protocols is that you simply don’t know what your limiter is.

Think of what is holding you back to achieving the performance you want. Chances are you are thinking of either specific movements, combination of movements, strength numbers or benchmark times. While it is good to know and understand all of these metrics, they are the wrong metrics to be focused on. It is misguided to think that a 2k Row ‘test’ or Fran ‘test’ will give you the reason ‘why’ you achieved the times you completed them in. Why did you complete Fran in 2:38? Why was your 2k row time 6:42? Simply trying to analyze the times you completed these workouts in will leave you with little to base future training on. You usually hear blankets statements such, as do more intervals, move heavier loads or get more proficient at butterfly pull ups.

There is physiology behind why you achieved those times and proper testing is necessary to determine what your physiologic limiter was. In order to attack limiters with specific training protocols, rather than generic training programs you need data first. To set the wheels in motion we need to have a few basic terms defined.

What is the difference between test, analysis, measurement and assessment?

Test – requires a device or product designed to accurately test a specific set of variables (cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic fitness).

Evaluation – is comparing the data collected during the test and comparing them to norms (VO2peak scored compared to ACSM guidelines for VO2 max by gender and age) to rank the athlete accordingly.

Analysis – figure out WHY they scored what they scored (fatigued at the end of the test due to poor respiratory fitness) that specifically leads you to be able to identify what physiologic limiter needs to be addressed. (in this example it would be respiratory training)

Assessment – used to evaluate the effectiveness of your training protocols. This will assist in being able to adapt your protocols as necessary to maximize efficiency and results.

If you are not able to analyze and determine why athlete did poorly then it is not a test, it is an assessment. Training built on this could very well lead to training compensators rather than limiters. Anything less than true testing is simply guessing and could result in inefficiencies in your training protocols.